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SOUTH ATTLEBORO â€” Stone-E-Lea Golf Course superintendent Dave Lapierre makes no bones about the mission of his family-owned and operated business.
â€śWe want to make people feel at home here,â€ť Lapierre was saying last week during a brief break from his job. â€śWeâ€™re not trying to trick the course up and make it a difficult place to play. We want golfers of all ages and skills to play our course and have a chance to play well and enjoy themselves.â€ť
Stone-E-Lea is a public course that does not book tee times.
â€śWeâ€™re kind of Old School,â€ť Lapierre said with a smile. â€śThis is a working manâ€™s golf course. We want the average golfer to come out here and break 100 and feel good about playing the golf course.â€ť
Lapierreâ€™s family has owned the golf course for more than 50 years.
â€śStone-E-Lea has been family-owned and operated since 1957,â€ť he said. â€śThis is the third generation of our family to run the course. We employ around 17 people, mostly family and close friends who all treat the golf course like it is their own.
â€śWe have five people who never stop working to improve the course,â€ť Lapierre said, listing Rich Lâ€™Etoile, Dennis McGovern, brother Steven Lapierre, David Perry and Dennis Hamm as fellow workers who keep the golf course in tremendous condition. Nancy Vieira runs the clubhouse and grillroom.
People who play the golf course say they keep coming back because the greens are in â€śfantastic shape.â€ť The fairways are well-maintained and the rough is short.
â€śThe greens fees are $26 during the week and $34 on weekends,â€ť Dave Lapierre said. â€śWeâ€™re a very affordable golf course for the average working man. And we want to keep it that way.â€ť
The golf course plays to 6,042 yards from the back tees and 5,150 from the front tees. Its signature hole is No. 15, a downhill par three with a pond between the tee and the green. The hole plays to 207 yards from the back tee and 145 yards from the front.
â€śThe 15th used to be rated as one of the tougher holes in New England,â€ť Lapierre admitted.
The No. 1 handicap hole is the ninth, which plays to 420 yards from the back tee. The 16th ranks No. 2, playing 405 yards from the back and 375 from the front tees. There are six par fours that play to 355 yards and less, including the 14th, which is 260 yards from the back tee. So there are a few tough holes and plenty of shorter runs that can be tamed with a straight drive and good iron shot into the green.
â€śWe get a lot of senior golfers,â€ť Lapierre said, â€śbut we get golfers of all ages, too. We feel we know what our niche is. We want golfers to come to Stone-E-Lea and enjoy a nice round of golf with their friends. Our job is to make everyone feel at home.â€ť